Third-generation haulier Malin Öhrlund, is Managing Director of Öhrlunds Åkeri, the Swedish company that bears her name. She has made a firm commitment to sustainability – at every stage of her company’s operations. It’s this dedication that has earned her the Swedish Association for Road Transport Companies’ Fair Transport approval.
This scheme was recently launched to promote sustainable transport and business. Swedish hauliers with documented fair practices in regards to the environment, carbon emissions, social responsibility and road safety have been invited to join.
Öhrlunds Åkeri, based in the northern Swedish city of Luleå, is one of the first to qualify for approval and has earned the right to display the Fair Transport logotype. “When I think about sustainability, the future comes to mind,” she says. “I think about my children, what our society will look like in the future, how we in our industry will fit in, and the journey forward.”
The transport company was founded by her grandfather Georg Öhrlund in 1946 with a pre-war Chevrolet. As assignments started to drop in, he needed a better truck and purchased a modern 90 hp truck on credit. As Georg was afflicted by growing lack of movement in his right arm and leg, Malin’s father 8-year old Mats helped out and occasionally on his own drove the truck and later helped shift gears for Georg while sitting on the cab floor. The company, which is now being operated by Malin and her two brothers, has a fleet of 15 trucks and 20 employees.
Making transport sustainable at all levels
Öhrlund explains that it’s her responsibility as haulier to ensure sustainability at all levels. “I need to have that in mind when planning our transports while considering the staff, the vehicles, our customers and in assisting customers to become more sustainable. But also, as a consumer, one needs to take responsibility when ordering goods: how are they delivered?”
Paying fair wages and adhering to laws and regulations goes without saying, according to Öhrlund. “But I also need to ensure the well-being of my staff in all possible ways. I try to create an environment of acceptance. It should be perfectly okay to take an unscheduled break because you’re tired, or to stop because roads are too slippery. That’s taking responsibility not only for your own work environment but also for road safety and it shows concern for others on the road.”
In becoming more sustainable, Öhrlunds Åkeri particularly seeks to benefit from smarter logistics: finding better routes, raising fill rates and consolidating shipments for customers and suppliers. “I believe that we’ll see a lot more of that in the future.”
Fair Transport helps ensure that there will be more sustainable transports and more sustainable business, Malin Öhrlund argues. “Ultimately, all of these actions will enable the haulage company to ask for and receive higher payment for services. Needless to say, quality costs more, when operating the latest trucks with the highest emission standards along with all the other services that we provide.”